Focus: Policy and Politics - Question Time - Cliff Prior, chief executive, Rethink

How do you feel about the dropping of the draft Mental Health Bill, which had been planned for eight years?

It's very welcome, because this was so clearly the wrong Bill - both unworkable and deeply unhelpful. But we're now in uncertain territory because the Government hasn't talked to anybody in making its new proposals.

All they've given us is a set of very sketchy headlines without consulting anyone from outside, from the professionals delivering services to the lawyers administering them and the users and carers on the receiving end.

Does this represent a victory for you?

It's unprecedented. I can't think of another time when a charity-led campaign actually resulted in a manifesto commitment-fulfilling Government Bill being withdrawn. It's a big step and a tribute to the readiness of mental health organisations to put a long-term common cause beyond individual charity profiles. It's also a tribute to the Mental Health Alliance leadership.

Paul Farmer has done an exceptional job.

Does this mean your work is over?

The MHA campaign was not to stop the Bill - it was to get a good Bill.

Our starting point is that this new approach by the Government needs as much scrutiny as the previous one. We've had no detail, no formal consultation process and no scrutiny process. This is an incredibly sensitive law, so it needs proper consideration and scrutiny.

What are your next steps?

We will continue to work with the alliance in a common cause on this because it's the only way we can make progress. We know that 126 MPs signed an Early Day Motion against the previous version of the Bill - and when you read why, it's clear that they're unlikely to be happy with the new proposals.

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